Thursday, 14 May 2020

May 14th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
***

The world right now may be vexed by the spread of a well-known disease but things were looking far better in this week of exactly forty years ago when the World Health Organisation announced smallpox had been completely eradicated everywhere on the planet Earth.

I don't know how much fuss was being made about that landmark achievement, on TV, at the time but I do know that, this evening in that week, BBC One was asking the question, "Do you really believe in reincarnation?"

And who was it asking it of?

Lene Lovich, of course.

In that show, the Lucky Number singer discussed the topic with farmer Ian Crawford, policewoman Sue Grimes, unemployed fitter David Harwood, journalist Krysia Kobziak and disc jockey Dave Silver. You just don't get shows like that on the BBC anymore.

But, even so, the organisation still had an air of crisis to it and, on that very evening, its Man Alive documentary strand was investigating whether the BBC even had a future now the price of a colour licence had risen to an astronomical nine pence per day!

Nine pence a day? It was daylight robbery!

I don't know how much a 45 single cost back then but I do know that, that very week, Australia's greatest Irishman Johnny Logan scaled the very pinnacle of the UK chart with his Eurovision Song Contest winner What's Another Year?

Over on the LP chart, there was no such joy for Johnny. That summit was held by The Magic of Boney M, the band's magnificent greatest hits package. And, let's be honest, who wouldn't want a Boney M greatest hits package on their record shelf?
Incredible Hulk Weekly #63, Captain Marvel


The Hulk may be able to smash Captain Marvel but reality's smashed the Hulk straight in the face and the monster who was once, "Britain's Number One TV star," finds himself starring in the last-ever issue of his own comic.

From next week, he'll have to share a book with Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, as he had all those years earlier, in 1972, when Marvel UK was first launched.

Other than that, I know nothing of the contents of this week's book.

I suspect, though, that Lunatik's still causing no end of chaos for the Defenders.

Spectacular Spider-Man Weekly #375, Morbius

Unless I misremember horribly, this is the tale in which Michael Morbius is suddenly cured of his vampirism, by a freak bolt of lightning.

I do suspect, however, that it won't turn out to be anything that resembles a permanent cure and his ailment will be back just as soon as a Marvel editor decides he's needed again.

Elsewhere, the Fantastic Four are fighting HERBIE the robot - and things aren't going well for them.

Of the other strips in this issue, I can say little.

Star Wars Weekly #116, Michael Golden

I do believe that's a Micahel Golden cover; and what a striking and distinctive thing it is.

Also this week, Man-Wolf's held captive aboard a space station that's been taken over by aliens.

The rest of this issue's a mystery to me but who cares about that when, inside, we can get news of The Empire Strikes Back?
Forces in Combat #1, Nick Fury, Marvel UK

Just to make sure I get even more work to do each week, Marvel UK gives us yet another comic.

This time, it's Forces in Combat, a strange melange of elements that seem to have little in common other than violence.

Admittedly, that's what all the other strips in all the other Marvel weeklies have in common too.

And so it is that we get a comic which includes World War II from Nick Fury, science fiction from ROM and Machine Man, secret agents in the form of Shang-Chi, Western action via the Rawhide Kid and Fantasy from Kull. I can't help but feel they're somewhat over-egging the pudding here.

Especially so, as the book also includes Wulf the Briton as drawn by Ron Embleton of TV Century 21 and Look and Learn fame.

As far as I can make out, that particular strip happens to be in colour and is the first non-Marvel originated material to be included in a Marvel UK book, having first seen light of day in Beaverbrook Newspapers' Express Weekly in the 1950s.
 
Doctor Who Weekly #31, the Daleks

Hooray! The Daleks are back - and tackling the Fourth Doctor. Something they did surprisingly rarely in the show itself.

We also get yet more of The Dogs of Doom. Whether the Doctor's still a scarf-wearing werewolf is a thing I cannot confirm.

We get a text article about the man behind Doctor Who. Could it be that John Nathan Turner is being foisted upon the poor readers?

We get Those Who Change, a Lee/Ditko masterpiece reprinted from the pages of Amazing Adult Fantasy #10, an issue whose cover star bears a noticeable resemblance to the Martians from Quatermass and the Pit.

We're also given a text story called Mind-Jump, a two-page Steve Moore strip involving a yeti, and a text article about the female foes of Doctor Who.

Of Abslom Daak, Dalek slayer, there is no trace.

42 comments:

Timothy Field said...

Ooh I must have flitted back to picking up the Marvel UK weeklies this week. Definitely had (and still have) FiC #1, though a bit surprised to realise that its sci-fi sister publication Future Tense was not launched the same week.

Anonymous said...

Normally Steve, as the Irish are a diasporic people I would say we can be born anywhere, but in this instance I'll go along with you and count Johnny Logan as Australian (sorry DW). Also on the subject of Eurovision winners, I am ok with considering Dana as British.

Forces in Combat looks like another attempt at creating a domestic anthology in the (somewhat dated by 1980) Lion/Valiant mould. Marvel Comic weekly hadn't lasted long, so you have to wonder what the thinking was behind basically doing the same thing again, especially with Nick Fury as the lead on the first cover a few years after Fury ran for all of ...what, two dozen issues?

Mind you, spending a bit of money on colour printing and licencing Ron Embleton's Wulf the Brexiter was a good idea. However old fashioned the stories seemed, reprints of anything by that generation of artists at least looked impressive (makes me wish I'd actually seen an issue of Forces in Combat at the time).

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Boney M has some great video on YouTube.

Morbius was just too cool of a character to be stalled for long. Hope this virus thing doesn't put a speed-bump in the movie release. His bat enzyme that transformed him might "trigger" some small minded people, with the bat-related connection to the Chinese wetmarkets.

Killdumpster said...

Speaking of Corona, maybe Hollywood would hop on a scenario that Man-Bat was created while researching a vaccine.

That could make a good Batman movie, but everyone is too sensitive now.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie would like to thank the following people for permanently messing with his head by suggesting he watch inane videos that you can't "un see"

Sean - Plastic Bertrand's Ca Plane pour Moi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ4i3lQM5lg

Steve - Aneka's apanese Boy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCH1IlOfDTM

Killdumpster- Bony M- Daddy Cool
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otna9Pe3jWg

W.t.h... you guys should be arrested for mental abuse! LOL

Killdumpster said...

I like Plastic Bertrand. I have them on a compilation CD. Gotta watch their video. Thanks for bringing them up, Charlie.

Killdumpster said...

Boney M lipsyching "Daddy Cool" in a German club is incredible.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey UK Gents - I was listening to your glorious Talk Sport and some guy kept ordering a drink called a Vodka and Tazer? Tisser? Help? After those three aforementioned videos, it seems Charlie really needs one!

Killdumpster said...

Man, you have bars open?!

Pennsylvania is closed. Our panty-waist governor has tasted the chalist of power.

Killdumpster said...

Or is that chalus? I dunno. I freely admit that I've been cruising around in my Dodge on country roads, partaking in beer, while listening to Misfits,Alice Cooper, Naked Raygun, Hendrix, Plasmatics on my 10 CD stereo unit.

If anyone's concerned, I'm home now. There was no one on the roars anyway! Ice cream stands are open, though.

Just had a extra large chocolate sugar-cone. Doesn't feel like the apocalypse to me right now.

Killdumpster said...

Beer & ice cream is almost as good as comics & weed.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - To be honest, Marvel should have just stolen all those great UK / DC Thomson / IPC (whomever) war stories.

I mean the cover to Victor Annual 1973 just seems so "Marvel."

Marvel's war stories were really nothing like DCs and seemed modeled on super-hero theatrics rather than war.

But yea, by 1980, I have to think the "war story" comic book had done sailed into the sunset.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Marvel/DC type war comic yes, Charlie. You'd think the '70s type British war comic would have vanished around this point too, but believe it or not, DC Thompson's Commando still comes out now.
You can celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day with Commando #5334!

And don't trigger Kd like that. You know how sensitive these right-wing types can be.
It must be tricky complaining about the people running the country, when their man is in the White House.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Charlie

I'm guessing they were referring to Tizer which is a fizzy red drink. To be honest, if someone ordered a vodka and Tizer in public they're let themselves down...

Sean

Johnny Logan may have bee the catalyst for the Aussie obsession with Eurovision. I found it quite amusing when I first arrived.

DW

Anonymous said...

been

D'oh!

DW

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

There's two types of coolness in this world: fragile coolness and hard wearing coolness. You can only tell which sort somebody has when they dance drunk at a wedding. George Clooney has fragile coolness. If he danced drunk at a wedding, his coolness would all disappear. His career would be over. That Boney M guy, though, he could appear on Celebrity Catchphrase with Piers Morgan and Howard The Duck and still be cool.

Colin Jones said...

The legendary Dana is British?? What madness is this?!? So I googled her and it turns out she was born in Islington, just like me!! All these years me and Dana had something in common and I never knew!

Johnny Logan was an Australian representing Ireland but in 1988 Celine Dion (a French-Canadian) won Eurovision representing Switzerland so clearly the Eurovision rules were pretty relaxed about who could sing for which country.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Tell ole Charlie abut those lax Eurovision rules! How does France Gall sing a Gainsbourg song for Luxembourg and win in 1965???

Here is that winning Eurovision performance, from Naples, Italy, in March of 1965! Subtitled in English no less!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5GtWA1owBs

I didn't realize Franc Gall had passed... Breaks my heart. Really enjoyed a lot of her music.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents!

I must say, the next time I get over there, I am going to try a Pimms and a Tizer. I can't believe those boissons have not been sold here in the USA! They sound delightful!

I especially want to try the PIMMS to feel like I'm "posh" for a change!

Have you guys tried them?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Tizer the Appetizer! That is a nice jingle!

Colin Jones said...

I just remembered that Gina G, the UK's Eurovision entry in 1996, was Australian and the UK's winning entry in 1997, "Love Shine A light", was sung by Katrina & The Waves who were American (well, Katrina was American but I'm not sure about The Waves).

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Would this be a good time to point out that I've enjoyed a glass of Pimms with the late Sir Hans Kornberg, grandfather of SuRie, the U.K. Eurovision singer who managed to keep going despite having her microphone snatched away from her by a stage invader?

Anonymous said...

Not sure its ever a good time to point out something like that dmaTAA, not unless your cool is unusually hard wearing.

On Australian Eurovision ringers, Olivia Newton-John lost for the Brits to the Swedish entry in '74. I always assumed that, or rather Abba being huge down under in the 70s accounted for the Australian enthusiasm for Eurovision.
But a look online shows they started broadcasting the contest in Oz in '83 so DW is likely right to blame Johnny Logan.

-sean

Steve W. said...

I genuinely think that if the whole world was forced to listen to nothing but Boney M for a month, it would bring an end to all global conflicts. It's impossible to be evil once one has acquired a love for Boney M.

Steve W. said...

Tim, I think that Future Tense wasn't launched until November, along with a whole slew of other books.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, you still haven't encountered the horror of Mr Blobby, the 1993 UK Christmas Number One: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNkgDJpcuwU

Anonymous said...

Charlie should just be grateful he isn't (I assume) watching the history of Eurovision on BBC 4 at the moment, Steve.

-sean

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I think this might be more to Charlie's taste. "Fancy dogging? Yes I do!" must be the greatest ever first line of a song. And I'm pretty sure the one on the right isn't wearing anything under that skirt.

https://youtu.be/t_YnB6U-sVc

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie be tripping on Bonie M, Plastic Bertrand, and Japanese Boy. Any more and he overdose. When he come down he do the others.

Maybe Charlie get out his lawn chair, sip on a PIMMS, and use his laptop - all in the glorious sun to do that???

What is weird for Charlie is he has a very distinct recall of A Ha winning some huge contest around October-November 1985 while Charlie was living in Germany. Charlie always figured it was Eurovision but it is clear A Ha didn't win that. Does anyone have any idea what that contest might have been? Maybe it was just some MTV-like contest? But Charlie had always heard that winning that contest got them a record deal which propelled them to fame.

Charlie will hang up here and go mix himself a vodka-tizer!

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna hafta check out these musicians. I've never heard of any of 'em, but they must have something going on if you cats are raving about them. Time to hit the U-Tubes, I guess.
Charlie, this is indeed a great time of the year to sit out in a lawn chair with a drink, a radio, and some old back issues. The temperature here has been an even 70 degrees F with a cool breeze.
A month from now it'll be hotter than an ass-crack.

M.P.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

M.P. - you sure you were in the Army and not a poet in a coffee house somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, when I was in the army my brilliant wit was generally wasted on my superiors.
I even caught K.P. duty for it once, out in the field. Anybody else here ever wash a broiler pan while standing in a snowbank?
That's how hilarious I was.

M.P.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I can shed no light on A-Ha ever having won a song contest and neither can Wikipedia.

Colin Jones said...

A-ha were Norwegian and 1985 was the year that Norwegian female duo Bobbysocks won Eurovision, ending Norway's reputation for coming last (nowadays it's the UK that comes last - Covid-19 has spared us our annual humiliation). Could Charlie be confusing A-ha with Bobbysocks?

Anonymous said...

You think thats humiliating Colin, try being from somewhere that holds the record for most Eurovision wins.

-sean

Colin Jones said...

I must admit I always look forward to the UK coming last :D

Abba, Celine Dion and Riverdance - the three biggest things to come out of Eurovision.

Anonymous said...

And Riverdance didn't even enter a song in the contest Colin! Thats how ignominious Eurovision is for us. More so than Enya, even.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You UK guys are so "UK Centric" when it comes to Eurovision! (Charlie is so butt hurt that I had to type this!!!)

Let's be serious...

France Gall singing Gainsbourg "Puppet du Cire" in 1966 was the epitome of Eurovision! It's been downhill ever since. But because her performance was so compelling and magical, it was a very, very tall hill, even a mountain. Thus there is a really long distance one can slide downhill.

Anonymous said...

I just put the tv on and theres footage of France Gall doing "Poupee on a String" right now Charlie.
OMG - its a "best of Eurovision"... and they're showing this years contest afterward! Thats a pretty pisspoor way to cancel something imo.

-sean

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - Sit back! Relax! Count your blessing!

There are 330,000,000 Americans who will never, ever see those! A true tragedy! (I am going to comfort Charlie when done typing here!)

Charlie Horse 47 said...


In fact, the closest any americans will get to "Poupee" is in the movie "The Longest Day."

Check out the link below.

I ROTF LMAO when that German General is saying "Gummi Puppen"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm2oewPDwpw

Anonymous said...

Judging from this comment thread, there's a whole world of weirdness out there that I'm completely unaware of.
Perhaps it's for the best...

M.P.